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Growing up in an Urbanising World

‘(…) In total, the book gives an excellent set of in-depth snapshots of the lives of children and how they are affected by architecture, cities and urbanisation, never trying to overgeneralise, yet always respecting the diversity of settings in which children live and the diversity of children's spatial practices and experience. The book includes an appendix of research guidelines for use in other cities, and a set of conclusions toward creating better cities for our next generation of children and youth.’

Gary T. Moore, Architectural Science Review

‘Part of the UNESCO Growing Up in Cities project, this book describes and analyses the relationship of children and young people and their urban surroundings in eight countries: Argentina, Australia, Norway, Poland, south Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Focusing on low-income neighbourhoods, it highlights common barriers to participatory processes and recommends policies and practices that will make cities more responsive to the needs of children and adolescents. It demonstrates how principles of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, Agenda 21 and the Habitat Agenda can be implemented at a local level to engage children and young people in shaping their cities and towns.’

Play Today magazine

‘(…) Researchers and/or educators with a specialism in this field - or indeed the participatory and inclusive design fields in general - will find this is an essential text. The book’s references are very useful and include well-known classics of the area. The book should also be useful and inspiring for practitioners who already work with or who are looking to work with young people in a built environment context. For teaching and learning purposes the book would be a valuable library addition for urban, architectural and landscape design as well as town planning. This text provides more support for those people working and campaigning to reduce the adult world’s long-held discrimination against young people in the design of the built environment. Along with its companion text, Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth this volume provides both ammunition for why and also practical guidance on how to carry out similar action research which might ultimately influence policy.’

Rosie Parnel, School of Architecture, University of Sheffield
The Centre for Education in the Built Environment (CEBE)

‘… an interdisciplinary team of experts in child-development and urban planning describe and analyse the relationship of young people and their urban surroundings in eight countries: Argentina, Australia, India, Norway, Poland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.’

CRIN (Child Rights Information Network)

‘(…) Academics, planners, community development workers, policy makers, children’s rights activists, teachers, parents and many others will find useful information and insights in this book.’

Journal of Community Development Society

‘(…) Perhaps the most important lesson from this book is simply to listen in earnest to what young people have to say. (…) The chapters of Growing Up in an Urbanising World were written by earnest listeners. Their respect for young people shows in their heavy reliance on direct quotations from the young people themselves to push the narrative of the studies forward. This is a powerful stylistic choice that encourages the reader to become an earnest listener as well.  The collection of case studies in Growing Up in an Urbanising World provides a moving picture of urban life for young people and a persuasive argument for valuing the role they can play in improving urban areas. (…)’

Richard Plate, College of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Florida, Applied Environmental Education and Communication

‘In response to the apparent interest of UN agencies, UNESCO alongside UNICEF, to reorient our cities with youth in mind, the volume Growing Up in an Urbanising World, edited by Louise Chawla, presents nine articles bases on case studies from contexts as disparate as the UK to Australia, India to Norway, the US to Poland, and Argentina. Low-income neighborhoods in this spectrum of industrialized countries, however, face similar problems - -  these common denominators have allowed the editor to draw a series of conclusions that are framed as a follow up to this project that was first launched in 1970, and involved in countries.’

Yasmeen Siddiqui, ArchNet

‘For me, the value in this book is within the case studies. Each is given an extensive chapter of its own. The language used is basic and easy to understand. Much use is made of quotes and texts recorded in interviews with young people themselves. Clearly, the authors have spent considerable time with the people the subject of the book. There is some useful interpretation, but real effort is expended in ensuring that the reader has a good direct flavour of what young people said at each location. Illustrative photos are used to depict the urban environment, and actual research projects. Graphics are used to represent art and map projects at each location. (…)’

Joel Cayford, ecocitymagazine.com

‘Overall, Growing Up in an Urbanising World is successful in its pursuit of a number of goals. It provides comprehensive documentation of how children use local environments and goes on to apply this knowledge and understanding to formulate indicators of enabling environments and to create child-sensitive urban policies. My assessment of this book is that it is an important contribution to the body of knowledge of young people and their active participation in community planning.’

Joan Kettle, Leeds Metropolitan University

‘The scope of experts covering the issues dealt with in this book are sure to provide a broad picture of the contemporary world and children’s place in it. For our Foundation, closely working with children and youth in Russia and actively involving them to participation in our programs, this edition is a most valuable resource.’

Zhenya Kataeva, New Perspectives Foundation

‘This UNESCO publication surveys a collection of global examples of youth participation in community change. It gives a detailed perspective of several programs, and focuses on how young people are responding to increased pressures in the world around them.’

The Freechild Project

‘(…) One of the most significant accomplishments of this book is the development of a set of indicators, based on the experiences and ideas of children, for what makes a community a good place to grow up. In the concluding chapter Chawla also proposes a series of recommendations for effective participatory for programmes for children and youth that will be useful to anyone involved in children’s programs.
The book is very readable and the repetition of common themes, while occasionally redundant, gives the book an overall sense of coherence. Data is presented in easily comprehensible charts and graphs and the photographs give a sense of connection to the projects. Academics, planners, community development workers, policy makers, children’s rights activists, teachers, parents and many others will find useful information and insights in this book. It will help all adults remember their own youth, and recapture the joys and frustrations of growing up. Hopefully it will lead us to find ways to ensure that children and youth have a strong voice in community planning and decision-making. (…)’

Lorna Heidenheim, Executive Director, Ontario Healthy Community Coalition, Journal of the Community Development Society

‘(…) Each of the eight research teams has contributed a chapter. One of the appealing features of this collection - and of the research generally - is the distinctiveness of each contribution. In spite of sharing a methodology and a perspective on children as active agents, and in spite of the researchers having worked in close collaboration (or maybe for that very reason?), these reports are far from being standardized units. They reflect not only an appreciation of the unique circumstances of each site but also an engagement in those circumstances that allowed each project to evolve organically and to take on its own dynamic. This, more than anything, gives credibility to the process described here. Far from being part of a franchise, as it were, the Growing up in Cities process has had the flexibility to become shaped by its various contexts. (…)’

Sheridan Bartlett, Environment&Urbanization

‘(…) This volume-along with Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth: A Manual for Participation, marks the revival of the Growing Up in Cities project of UNESCO, pioneered in the 1970s, and seeks to understand the reasons young people find their city a good place in which to grow up, or a place where they feel alienated. The authors-experts in child development and urban planning-analyze the relationship of young people and their surroundings in cities in Argentina, Australia, India, Norway, Poland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. Focusing on low-income neighborhoods, they highlight common obstacles to participatory processes and recommend practices that will make cities more responsive to the needs of children and adolescents, emphasizing their active participation in community planning.’

The Bryn Mawr Alumnae Bulletin

‘(…) This is a must-read book for students and practitioners of urban planning and policy-making as well as educators and educational administrators of urban children. The practical research methods and techniques used by GUIC researchers can be adopted for social studies curriculum to help develop urban middle and high school students as democratic citizens and changing agents.’

Electronic Magazine of Multicultural Education

‘A companion book, Growing Up in an Urbanising World, edited by Louise Chawla, was written by an interdisciplinary team of child-environment experts from design and social sciences professions. This publication is more academic, describing the creation and goals of the “Growing Up in cities” project and presenting in-depth analyses of projects in Argentina, Australia, India, Norway, Poland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. The case studies are engagingly written and often moving. (…) The lessons teased out of each project are summarized in a concluding chapter that offers recommendations for involving children in making their environments more liveable.’

Megan M. Susman, AIA Program Manager, Livable Communities, The American Institute of Architects











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